Amazongate: IPCC nailed over lies about peer reviewed material

(Original story: EU Referendum)  Christopher Booker of the Telegraph has persisted where other journalists could not be bothered to tread, and ensured a wider audience learns that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an untrustworthy and dishonest organisation.

The story by Booker tonight cements in the mainstream media the information presented by Dr Richard North, which exploded the denials, spin and manoeuvring of the IPCC.  At the time of Booker going to press the IPCC has still failed to respond to the charge that it broke it own rules and should retract a false claim and apologise.  Indeed, Booker’s piece will also result in red faces not only at the IPCC, but also at the politicised World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the BBC, the Guardian and the editorial board of the Sunday Times.

For as Booker tells Telegraph readers in his column this weekend:

It turns out that one of the most widely publicised statements in the 2007 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a claim on which tens of billions of dollars could hang – was not based on peer-reviewed science, as repeatedly claimed, but originated solely from anonymous propaganda published on the website of a small Brazilian environmental advocacy group.

That statement concerned the claim that “up to 40 per cent of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation”.  The IPCC’s own rules state that such non-peer-reviewed material should only be cited when it has been subjected to rigorous critical appraisal and that:

“each chapter team should review the quality and validity of each source before including results from the source into an IPCC report”.

It is self evident that this did not happen as North demonstrated last week.  Not only that, but the original anonymous claim, for which there was no scientific basis, on the website of the Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM) was embellished so it referred to the wider Amazon rainforest and not just the area within the territorial borders of Brazil.  Why would such a thing happen?  Well, as readers will be reminded, there is big, big money at stake with organisations such as the WWF anticipating a share of a vast carbon credit windfall, paid for by consumers and taxpayers.

This is a common theme in the realm of climate change.  The science is only a means to achieving very profitable financial ends.  But these vested interests benefit from the unwitting assistance of useful idiots such as George Monbiot and fellow travellers who was to see capitalism undermined and wealth redistributed.

We should be grateful for the likes of Christopher Booker.  Having originally carried the news that the reference to the Amazon was not peer reviewed, the Sunday Times came under pressure to retract from those like Monbiot, for whom the story was inconvenient and unhelpful to their activism.  The Sunday Times editorial board caved in and issued a retraction when what they should have done was redoubled their efforts to make the story water-tight by getting their journalists to research and dig for more details. It resulted in the mainstream media again being cowed into silence by those with something to hide.  The days of fearless journalism seem all but over.  It is a terrible indictment on the state of journalism today and the paucity of strong editorial management.

Now the Sunday Times retraction, as Booker points out, requires its own retraction to reflect reality.  The efforts of North and Booker should be applauded.  The outcome is delicious.

Update: EU Referendum has created a comprehensive ‘index’ posting with full details of the story, containing relevant links and background.

1 Response to “Amazongate: IPCC nailed over lies about peer reviewed material”

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Amazongate: IPCC nailed over lies about peer reviewed material « Autonomous Mind -- Trackback on 10/07/2010 at 11:49 pm
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